Behavioral research has revealed that some cognitive features may be similar between creative and psychotic/schizophrenic-like thoughts. In this study, we addressed the potential link between creativity and schizotypy at the level of the brain by investigating functional patterns of brain activity (using functional magnetic resonance imaging) during creative cognition in preselected groups with low versus high psychometrically determined schizotypy. Our findings revealed an association between the originality component of creativity and reduced deactivation of right parietal brain regions and the precuneus during creative cognition, congruent with the idea that more-creative people may include many more events/stimuli in their mental processes than do less-creative people. Similarly, the high-schizotypy group showed weaker deactivation of the right precuneus during creative cognition. The fact that originality and schizotypy show similar functional brain activity patterns during creative ideation (i.e., reduced deactivation of the right precuneus) strongly supports the contention that similar mental processes may be implicated in creativity and in psychosis proneness.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
The recordings of the oral responses of two participants were of extremely bad quality, and thus could not be used for further analyses. The (M)ANCOVAs that we performed were based on a sample size of 39 participants (19 SPQ low, 20 SPQ high).
Abraham, A., Windmann, S., Daum, I., & Güntürkün, O. (2005). Conceptual expansion and creative imagery as a function of psychoticism. Consciousness and Cognition, 14, 520–534. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2004.12.003
Abraham, A., Windmann, S., McKenna, P., & Güntürkün, O. (2007). Creative thinking in schizophrenia: The role of executive dysfunction and symptom severity. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 12, 235–258.
Acar, S., & Runco, M. A. (2012). Psychoticism and creativity: A meta-analytic review. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 6, 341–350.
Amabile, T. M. (1982). Social psychology of creativity: A consensual assessment technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 997–1013.
Batey, M., & Furnham, A. (2008). The relationship between measures of creativity and schizotypy. Personality and Individual Differences, 45, 816–821.
Borkenau, P., & Ostendorf, F. (1993). NEO-Fünf-Faktoren Inventar (NEO-FFI) nach Costa und McCrae [Neo Five Factor Inventory of Costa and McCrae] (German version). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.
Brett, M., Anton, J.-L., Valabregue, R., & Poline, J.-B. (2002, June). Region of interest analysis using an SPM toolbox [Abstract]. Article presented at the 8th International Conference on Functional Mapping of the Human Brain, Sendai, Japan. [Available on CD-ROM in NeuroImage, 16(2)].
Carson, S. H. (2011). Creativity and psychopathology: A shared vulnerability model. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry—Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie, 56, 144–153.
Carson, S. H., Peterson, J. B., & Higgins, D. M. (2003). Decreased latent inhibition is associated with increased creative achievement in high-functioning individuals. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 85, 499–506.
Carter, C. S., Mintun, M., Nichols, T., & Cohen, J. D. (1997). Anterior cingulate gyrus dysfunction and selective attention deficits in schizophrenia: [15O]H2O PET study during single-trial Stroop task performance. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 1670–1675.
Cavanna, A. E. (2006). The precuneus: A review of its functional anatomy and behavioural correlates. Brain, 129, 564–583.
Chapman, J. P., Chapman, L. J., & Kwapil, T. R. (1994). Does the Eysenck Psychoticism Scale predict psychosis? A ten year longitudinal study. Personality and Individual Differences, 17, 369–375.
Chrysikou, E. G., & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (2011). Dissociable brain states linked to common and creative object use. Human Brain Mapping, 32, 665–675.
Claridge, G. (1997). Schizotypy: Implications for illness and health. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Claridge, G., & Blakey, S. (2009). Schizotypy and affective temperament: Relationships with divergent thinking and creativity styles. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 820–826.
Corbetta, M., Patel, G., & Shulman, G. L. (2008). The reorienting system of the human brain: From environment to theory of mind. Neuron, 58, 306–324.
Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI‐R) and NEO Five Factor Inventory. Professional Manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Cropley, D. (2010). The dark side of creativity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Eysenck, H. J. (1995). Creativity as a product of intelligence and personality. In D. H. Saklofske & M. Zeidner (Eds.), International handbook of personality and intelligence (pp. 231–247). New York, NY: Plenum Press.
Feist, G. J. (1998). A meta-analysis of personality in scientific and artistic creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 290–309.
Fink, A., & Benedek, M. (2012). EEG alpha power and creative ideation. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.12.002
Fink, A., Grabner, R. H., Benedek, M., Reishofer, G., Hauswirth, V., Fally, M., & Neubauer, A. C. (2009). The creative brain: Investigation of brain activity during creative problem solving by means of EEG and fMRI. Human Brain Mapping, 30, 734–748. doi:10.1002/hbm.20538
Fink, A., Grabner, R. H., Gebauer, D., Reishofer, G., Koschutnig, K., & Ebner, F. (2010). Enhancing creativity by means of cognitive stimulation: Evidence from an fMRI study. NeuroImage, 52, 1687–1695.
Fink, A., Koschutnig, K., Benedek, M., Reishofer, G., Ischebeck, A., Weiss, E. M., & Ebner, F. (2012). Stimulating creativity via the exposure to other people’s ideas. Human Brain Mapping, 33, 2603–2610.
Fink, A., Koschutnig, K., Hutterer, L., Steiner, E., Benedek, M., Weber, B., . . . Weiss, E. M. (2013). Gray matter density in relation to different facets of verbal creativity. Brain Structure and Function. doi:10.1007/s00429-013-0564-0
Fink, A., Slamar-Halbedl, M., Unterrainer, H. F., & Weiss, E. M. (2012). Creativity: Genius, madness, or a combination of both? Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 6, 11–18.
Fisher, J. E., Mohanty, A., Herrington, J. D., Koven, N. S., Miller, G. A., & Heller, W. (2004). Neuropsychological evidence for dimensional schizotypy: Implications for creativity and psychopathology. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 24–31.
Folley, B. S., & Park, S. (2005). Verbal creativity and schizotypal personality in relation to prefrontal hemispheric laterality: A behavioral and near-infrared optical imaging study. Schizophrenia Research, 80, 271–282.
Green, M. J., & Williams, L. M. (1999). Schizotypy and creativity as effects of reduced cognitive inhibition. Personality and Individual Differences, 27, 263–276.
Jauk, E., Benedek, M., & Neubauer, A. C. (2012). Tackling creativity at its roots: Evidence for different patterns of EEG alpha activity related to convergent and divergent modes of task processing. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 84, 219–225.
Jung, R. E., Grazioplene, R., Caprihan, A., Chavez, R. S., & Haier, R. J. (2010). White matter integrity, creativity, and psychopathology: Disentangling constructs with diffusion tensor imaging. PLoS ONE, 5, e9818. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009818
Jung, R. E., & Haier, R. J. (2007). The parieto-frontal integration theory (P-FIT) of intelligence: Converging neuroimaging evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 30, 135–154.
Jung-Beeman, M. (2005). Bilateral brain processes for comprehending natural language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 512–518.
Klein, C., Andresen, B., & Jahn, T. (1997). Psychometric assessment of the schizotypal personality according to DSM-III-R criteria: Psychometric properties of an authorized German translation of Raine’s “Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire. Diagnostica, 43, 347–369.
Koenigsberg, H. W., Buchsbaum, M. S., Buchsbaum, B. R., Schneiderman, J. S., Tang, C. Y., New, A., & Siever, L. J. (2005). Functional MRI of visuospatial working memory in schizotypal personality disorder: A region-of-interest analysis. Psychological Medicine, 35, 1019–1030.
MacDonald, A. W., Becker, T. M., & Carter, C. S. (2006). Functional magnetic resonance imaging study of cognitive control in the healthy relatives of schizophrenia patients. Biological Psychiatry, 60, 1241–1249.
Mason, O., & Claridge, G. (2006). The Oxford–Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE): Further description and extended norms. Schizophrenia Research, 82, 203–211.
Nelson, B., & Rawlings, D. (2010). Relating schizotypy and personality to the phenomenology of creativity. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 36, 388–399.
Nelson, M. T., Seal, M. L., Pantelis, C., & Phillips, L. J. (2013). Evidence of a dimensional relationship between schizotypy and schizophrenia: A systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 37, 317–327. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.01.004
Nettle, D. (2006). Schizotypy and mental health amongst poets, visual artists, and mathematicians. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 876–890.
Neubauer, A. C., & Fink, A. (2009). Intelligence and neural efficiency. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 33, 1004–1023. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009.04.001
Raichle, M. E., MacLeod, A. M., Snyder, A. Z., Powers, W. J., Gusnard, D. A., & Shulman, G. L. (2001). A default mode of brain function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98, 676–682.
Raine, A. (1991). The SPQ: A scale for the assessment of schizotypal personality based on DSM-III-R criteria. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 17, 555–564.
Rubinstein, G. (2008). Are schizophrenic patients necessarily creative? A comparative study between three groups of psychiatric inpatients. Personality and Individual Differences, 45, 806–810.
Runco, M. A., & Acar, S. (2012). Divergent thinking as an indicator of creative potential. Creativity Research Journal, 24, 66–75.
Runco, M. A., Plucker, J. A., & Lim, W. (2001). Development and psychometric integrity of a measure of ideational behavior. Creativity Research Journal, 13, 393–400.
Simonton, D. K. (1999). Creativity as blind variation and selective retention: Is the creative process Darwinian? Psychological Inquiry, 10, 309–328.
Simonton, D. K. (2000). Creativity: Cognitive, personal, developmental, and social aspects. American Psychologist, 55, 151–158.
Smieskova, R., Fusar-Poli, P., Allen, P., Bendfeldt, K., Stieglitz, R. D., Drewe, J., & Borgwardt, S. J. (2010). Neuroimaging predictors of transition to psychosis—A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 34, 1207–1222. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.01.016
Snitz, B. E., MacDonald, A. W., Cohen, J. D., Cho, R. Y., Becker, T., & Carter, C. S. (2005). Lateral and medial hypofrontality in first-episode schizophrenia: Functional activity in a medication-naive state and effects of short-term atypical antipsychotic treatment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 2322–2329.
Sussmann, J. E., Lymer, G. K. S., McKirdy, J., Moorhead, T. W. J., Muñoz Maniega, S., Job, D., & McIntosh, A. M. (2009). White matter abnormalities in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia detected using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging. Bipolar Disorders, 11, 11–18. doi:10.1111/j.1399-5618.2008.00646.x
Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Hashizume, H., Sassa, Y., Nagase, T., Nouchi, R., & Kawashima, R. (2011). Failing to deactivate: The association between brain activity during a working memory task and creativity. NeuroImage, 55, 681–687.
Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Hashizume, H., Sassa, Y., Nagase, T., Nouchi, R., & Kawashima, R. (2012). The association between resting functional connectivity and creativity. Cerebral Cortex, 22, 2921–2929.
Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Sassa, Y., Hashizume, H., Sekiguchi, A., Fukushima, A., & Kawashima, R. (2010). Regional gray matter volume of dopaminergic system associate with creativity: Evidence from voxel-based morphometry. NeuroImage, 51, 578–585.
Torrance, E. P. (1966). Torrance tests of creative thinking. Princeton, NJ: Personnel Press.
Weiss, E. M. (2004). Brain activation patterns during a verbal fluency test—A functional MRI study in healthy volunteers and patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 70, 287–291.
Weiss, E. M., Hofer, A., Golaszewski, S., Siedentopf, C., Felber, S., & Fleischhacker, W. W. (2006). Language lateralization in unmedicated patients during an acute episode of schizophrenia: A functional MRI study. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 146, 185–190.
Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Thermenos, H. W., Milanovic, S., Tsuang, M. T., Faraone, S. V., McCarley, R. W., & Seidman, L. J. (2009). Hyperactivity and hyperconnectivity of the default network in schizophrenia and in first-degree relatives of persons with schizophrenia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106, 1279–1284. doi:10.1073/pnas.0809141106
Wuthrich, V., & Bates, T. C. (2005). Reliability and validity of two Likert versions of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 1543–1548.
About this article
Cite this article
Fink, A., Weber, B., Koschutnig, K. et al. Creativity and schizotypy from the neuroscience perspective. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 14, 378–387 (2014). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-013-0210-6
- Creative ideation